You might have to pay if you quit during probation

Compensation can be up to half the remuneration amount for 3 months

Is it legal for an employer to ask for monetary compensation from an employee who resigns during the probation period? I resigned from my company during my probation period as I was made to work longer hours and I was not given a day off. My human resources department, however, said I would need to pay Dh2,500 towards visa costs. Please clarify.

It is presumed that your employment is subject to provisions of the Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (the "Labour Law").

Pursuant to your question, it may be noted that an employer is within its rights to seek compensation from an employee who may resign before the completion of the contract period and the same applies even if the termination should occur during the probation period. The provisions applies only to contracts of limited period. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 116 of the Labour Law, which states:

 

"Where a contract is revoked by the worker for reasons other than those specified in article (121), he shall be required to compensate the employer for any prejudice the latter sustains as a result; provided that the amount of compensation shall not exceed half the worker's remuneration for three months or the residual period of the contract whichever is shorter unless the contract contains a provision to the contrary."

Further, it may be noted that in the UAE, the employer is always liable to bear the recruitment and sponsorship expenses for recruitment of its employees. This is in accordance with Article 6(a) of Ministerial Resolution No. 52 for 1980 regarding 'The Rules and Procedures to be adopted at the Labour permits sections with respect to the recruitment of non-national Labours for the employment in UAE', which states:

"The employer or its legal representative shall sign the recruitment application form prepared by the Ministry for this purpose; such form shall include an undertaking from the employer to the effect that he shall sponsor and be responsible for the recruited labourer, the bearing of his recruitment expenses and his employment in accordance with the employment contract in a way not prejudicing the provision of the Federal Law No. 8/1980 referred to herein."

In view of the foregoing, it may be noted that your employer is not within its rights to ask for payment for expenses incurred by your employer in respect of the visa-costs, as the same is illegal in the UAE.

You may contact the Ministry of Labour in the event of any dispute with your employer.

Quit job without notice if you haven't been paid

I have been working as an engineer in a company in Abu Dhabi for the past seven months. I have not been paid any salary during this period. Prior to recruiting me, I was told that the company would make arrangements for accommodation and transportation, as stated in the contract. How can I change my job without attracting a labour ban?

It is presumed that your employment is subject to provisions of Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (the "Labour Law").

Pursuant to your question, it may be advised that you may leave your present employment without notifying your employer, as your employer is not paying you any remuneration. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 121 of the Labour Law, which states:

"Article 121: A worker may abandon his work without notice in either of the following cases:

1. If the employer fails to honour his obligations towards the worker, as provided for in the contract or in this Law.

2. If he is assaulted by the employer or the employer's legal representative."

However, if you should consider to leave your employment as such, you must forthwith notify the Ministry of Labour and also file a complaint against your employer.

It may be noted that individuals holding certain professional qualifications may not be imposed an employment ban. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 of the "Ministerial Order No (13) of 1991 Re: The organisation of the transfer of sponsorships of non-national labours the rules governing same" which states:

"Article 2: Non-national labourers may be allowed to transfer one job to another and hence the transfer of their sponsorship if they fall under the following categories:

a) Engineers

b) Doctors, pharmacists and male and female nurses

c) Agricultural guides

d) Qualified accountants and account auditors

e) Administrative officials

f) Technicians operating on electronic equipment and laboratories

g) Drivers who are licensed to drive heavy vehicles and buses,"

(in case of transfer of sponsorship from a private firm to another or from a private firm to another or to a government department)."

In view of the foregoing, an employment ban may not be imposed on you since you are working as an engineer in the UAE.

Notwithstanding the above provision, even if an employment ban does get imposed, you may still have the same lifted if you are offered a monthly salary of Dh12,000 in your subsequent employment. This is in pursuance of Article 4 of the Ministerial Order No. 1186 of 2010 on "Rules and Conditions of Granting a New Work Permit to an Employee after Termination of the Work Relationship in Order to Move from One Establishment to Another", which states:

"As an exception to the provision of the Item No (2) of Article 2 of this Resolution, the Ministry may issue a work permit to an employee without requiring the two-year period in the following cases:

a) In the event that the employee is starting his new position at the first, second or third professional levels after fulfilling the conditions for joining any of these levels according to the rules in force at the Ministry, and provided that his new wage is not less than Dh12,000 at the first professional level; Dh7,000 at the second professional level; and Dh5,000 at the third professional level ..."

You may contact the Ministry of Labour for any further clarification with respect to your queries or a qualified legal counsel in the event of any dispute with your employer.

The employer is liable to bear the sponsorship expenses for recruitment of its employees

Source: khaleejtimes

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